I really like Apple’s iBooks program and how I can add an ebook on my Mac system and have it show up on my iPad too. Handy, ensures I always have something to read.
But it’s an expensive habit! Is there a way to get or download free books for iBooks without violating copyright laws or resorting to torrents?
As a book writer who appreciates receiving those royalty checks every month, I’m very glad that you aren’t resorting to BitTorrent or the like to get cracked versions of commercial titles. I understand the temptation, though, particularly for a fiction work that you might well bail on 20 pages in as you realize that it’s just not very good. The price of accessible self-publishing. Still, even bad authors deserve their royalty for the work they’ve produced.
But some authors are smart and make some of their work available for free to readers as a way for new people to learn about them and hopefully buy their other books once they’ve been converted into fans. And then there are the thousands upon thousands of books available through Project Gutenberg and the like, books that have fallen into the public domain because their copyright has expired. This includes a lot of classic titles, including all of Shakespeare’s works, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Carrol, and much, much more. Problem with Gutenberg titles, however, is that they’re not formatted for an ebook reader like iBooks and the experience of reading a PDF is far inferior.
Fortunately for all of us, just as Amazon has a free section of the Kindle store, so does Apple have a free books section of the iBooks store. Let’s have a look!
To start, launch iBooks. Mine is full of books already:
On the top left see the “iBooks Store” link? Click on it…
Very nice. Very much like the iTunes Store, actually, but no surprise there.
You need to scroll down a ways and look on the right side for the menu of options:
Find “Free Books” and click on it.
Then you’ll find that unlike all the other sections of the iBooks Store, this one’s often a bit messed up. Doesn’t seem like giving away content is a high priority there at Apple but that’s okay. It all still works. (I’ve cleaned up the following screenshot for aesthetic reasons):
Find a book or three that you like, tap on the cover to learn more. That’s what I’m doing here:
Sure looks interesting since I’m a fan of the A&E TV series Bates Motel, so I’ll download it.
That’s easily done by tapping on “Free” immediately under the cover image on the left. After a few seconds it opens up:
Now just sync your iPad with your Mac and that ebook will automatically be copied across. About as easy as it can be.
And me? I need to go read through Jaio’s Journal to see if I can pick up some clues about one of the major storylines in Bates Motel.